Dyche Explains The Defeat

Sean Dyche says his team were not at their best last night after they suffered their first defeat of 2019 at St James' Park.

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Burnley looked slow and ponderous, a shadow of the team that put Tottenham to the sword on Saturday, succumbing to first-half goals from Fabian Schar and Sean Longstaff.

Players who shone against Spurs like Ashley Barnes, Dwight McNeil and James Tarkowski consistently gave the ball away and suddenly seemed to panic under pressure.

The loss ended the club's impressive eight-game unbeaten run in the new year, bringing Dyche's side down to earth with a bump.

But the Burnley boss was still eager to praise his side, reminding fans of the fantastic performance that saw them topple Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs at the weekend.

He said: "It’s a strange one to analyse.

"We certainly weren’t at the races in the first half and you can’t help but think back to Saturday’s result and all the euphoria that goes with beating one of the big six.

"If we’d had a free week, all that furore might have calmed down, but when you hit the big teams as we did on Saturday with a terrific performance and you have to go and do it all again a few days later… well, that’s what it looked like.

"At half time we reminded them of that, and in the second half I thought there was a response. We were a little more like our old selves.

"The energy came back and without being amazing we huffed and puffed and created one or two things. At least it looked a bit more like us."

The Clarets started the game with one notable line-up change from their successful run.

Ashley Westwood, who has won the applause of Burnley fans for his strong performances of late, was absent from the starting line-up, with Hendrick moving into his role and Johann Berg Gundmundsson coming in on the wing.

The club revealed that the number 18 had been sent home from the team’s hotel after suffering with illness which Dyche described as a "blow" to the team.

He said: "Losing Westy this afternoon, after he’s been excellent, was a blow, but thankfully he rooms alone, so hopefully we have contained that.

"That was a factor, and also it was probably a game too far for Dwight. Don’t get me wrong, he might be ready again for Saturday, but it was a big ask for him and he couldn’t quite find that energy tonight.

"And collectively, we just couldn’t find that edge to our game that we play with tonight.

"Having said that, they’ve scored a ‘worldy’ and Tom (Heaton) hasn’t had too much else to do. We responded with two really good chances in the first half and if one goes in, you never know."

Despite missed chances and poor individual performances, the manager was quick to give credit to Charlie Taylor after the former Leeds man put in a superb all-round performance.

“It’s hard to be too critical because the players have been outstanding in many appearances lately," said Dyche.

“I thought Charlie Taylor was good again tonight and it’s good to have Robbie Brady and Johann back and getting some minutes, because that’s going to be important going forward."

“So, underlying, there were some good things, but tonight was a reminder that if you are not on top of your performance, you don’t get anything."